Wednesday, February 10, 2010


For those of you that might have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that I have a friend who had a sick little girl who needed a lung transplant. I did two bake sales with LOTS of help to raise money for them, one in the summer which did really well (but apparently I didn’t blog about it) and then another in October .

Some of you helped with the bake sale or came to buy goodies and help out so I wanted to update you on Kamilla. She moved to Texas with her parents and siblings since that’s where they would do the transplant. They had to leave behind their family in Utah and wait in Texas for months until the doctors decided Kamilla was ready to be on the transplant waiting list. Then this week, her beeper went off, and her parents had to rush her to the hospital for the operation while the lung which was donated (with love and heartache, I’m sure) was still viable. It was a very long and risky surgery, but it went well and Kamilla is in recovery. She is still in our prayers that she will continue to do well, but we are so glad that she has made it well through this step.
Kamilla---before and after the surgery

About a year and half ago, Denisse, my visiting teaching companion, and I got our new assignment to visit Mariela (Kamilla’s mother). I didn’t know her well, but knew her family who has been in our ward since the branch opened. Mariela had recently moved into our ward after living in Salt Lake City. Denisse and I dropped by to introduce ourselves and we found out that she was going to have her baby the following week. So we were her visiting teachers through all the difficulties having her baby in the hospital for so long, having her finally come home and then get sick and have to go back to the hospital and then to find out she had a genetic disorder and would need a transplant.
Another Before shot of Kamilla

What a blessing it has been for me to get to know her and to see her astounding example of faith and peace through all of it. Of course she had her bad days and I’m sure she spent many hours in tears, but she didn’t complain or lose hope. I’m glad that we’ve been able to stay in touch even though she is far away now. She reminds me of the oak tree in this quote from a BYU devotional:

“My grandfather Francisco Lara told our family the fable of the Oak tree and the Almond tree.

There was once two young trees planted by a poor farmer to whom the trees had been given. One tree was an oak the other was an almond. These trees grew on the edge of the Sonora desert and as the trees grew it became apparent that water was scarce on this farmland.

Twice a week the farmer would come down with his two buckets of water and water his trees. The Almond tree would beg and plead with the Oak tree to let him have his portion of water also because he was so thirsty. The Oak tree agreed because he loved the little Almond tree very much.

So while the roots of the Almond tree stretched out to soak up all the water the roots of the Oak went deeper into the earth searching for every drop of water it could find.

Both trees grew up very nicely; the Almond tree with his wonderful blossoms and sweet nuts and the Oak tree became very majestic. One day a great wind began to blow in from the south and blew harder all during the day. It started to strip the leaves from the trees and snap off the small branches of the trees. The Almond tree panicked and cried out to the Oak tree as the wind blew stronger into the night. The Almond tree cried out during the night to the great Oak tree for help and the Oak tree encouraged the little Almond tree to persevere and lean into the wind.

When the daybreak came the Oak tree could see off in the horizon that the farmer’s house was missing a roof and the chicken coop was blown away. He watched the old farmer make his way down to the trees. The Almond tree was blown over dead, its shallow roots thrust up into the air. The farmer and the Oak tree wept. The farmer came up to the Oak tree and patted its bark and called him “fuerte, grande y fuerte.” Large and strong. And while the great Oak tree was saddened, he was thankful because of the lack of water that his roots had run deep into the earth, anchoring him against the storm of tribulation.

Our afflictions as the Lord says “if thou endure well” will make us strong. Each instance causes us to drive our roots deeper in the Gospel and anchor ourselves in Christ so that in the end we will stand strong against the winds of the mighty tribulations, so that when the hearts of men fail them you are resolved in Christ.”
Paul Buckingham , Life’s Afflictions and Self Inflictions,
BYU Devotional, July 10, 2003

(Nice sun out today while some parts of the country are getting pounded with snow!)

Trials are not easy to go through personally and it’s difficult to see others suffer. But I’m grateful for the knowledge “that all these things shall give [me] experience, and shall be for [my] good” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7) as long as I endure it well. Enduring well means not complaining (too bad because I’m pretty good at that), being patient and trusting that God is always in control and knows what is best for me, now and in the future. I’m so glad to have so many examples of this in my family and friends.

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition aspired, and success achieved." Helen Keller

(Oh, and in case you don't speak Spanish. Pobrecita means poor, little girl.)


  1. Thank you for posting this. I feel whoever reads this will benefit from the spirit here. I know I have.

  2. Thanks for sharing Valerie. That was an amazing post. I'm so, so glad their little girl got the transplant. I hope she continues to do well.

  3. Valerie, I love this story! I am so thankful to you for sharing it. It is an amazing post and a very amazing little girl. I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Yay, I'm so glad she got her lung! How exciting for her parents! She probably has no idea how her strength has touched others. Wonderful post!

  5. I'll keep Kamilla in my prayers. What a sweet little angel. That last picture of her with a smile on her face even with all the cables poking her really touched me.
    I'm in awe of people who have the strength to keep going in spite of terrible trials. Last Monday I attended a beautiful funeral service for my neighbors' son, who passed away last week while on his mission in Romania. Can you believe that after all the pain that family has been through they were the ones comforting others and asking how everyone was? Prayers do help and help others carry their burden.
    Thanks for sharing this Valery, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  6. What a sweet little girl, and a tender story. So glad she is doing well. Will pray for her continued recovery.


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